The secret to Ron Paul’s $5,000,000: An Analysis.

October 10, 2007

Dear Campaign Managers:

I have heard whisperings that some of your campaigns have hired consultants to learn Dr. Paul’s secret to raising over $5,000,000 in the last quarter. I wish I had known, I could have saved you quite a bit of time, and I could have made a tidy sum by telling you what I, and most Americans already know.

If you would bear with me, I would like to summarize where we stand right now.

There is a growing unease in America. The Republicans would have us believe that it is due to an ever expanding host of foreign threats. If you aren’t afraid of impending terrorist attacks, then you’re not trying hard enough. Not scared silly by those hordes of illegal immigrants who want to mow your lawn? What about Chinese petfood? Spanish grapes? Bird flu, anyone? I sometimes feel I’ve unwillingly been enrolled in a terror of the month club. Their message seems to be that it’s a terror filled world out there, Skippy, but here in America everything is ok, or at least it could be if we could just do something about that danged terror. Don’t worry though, those clever Republicans have got all kinds of ideas on how to save us – ideas ranging from invading foreign countries who even dare to look at us the wrong way, to injecting us with computer chips, to joining forces with those bastions of military and economic might, Canada and Mexico. It’s all about safety. “We’ll make you safe”, they promise.

The Democrats want us to believe we’re uneasy because we’re feeling insecure. “Don’t worry,” they say, “We’ll house you. We’ll feed you, we’ll give you health insurance, we’ll walk your dog and weed your lawn. And if you don’t have a lawn, we’ll grow one for you. We’ll give you money if you have a baby, and we’ll give you money if you’re only thinking about having a baby.” I wonder how long it will be before they propose putting a quarter in every condom package. Not a bad idea actually, because all Americans have the same feeling about the government in general, and politicians in particular: somebody’s gonna get screwed, and we all know who that somebody’s gonna be. At least with the “Quarters for Quondoms” initiative we’ll get paid for it.


The media, who used to be the allies of the people, are no longer. They want to be the directors of history instead of the recorders of it. The major news networks have already decided who the two frontrunners are; they even have the polling numbers to prove it (Hello, this is a friendly and totally unbiased polling company. We would like to ask you a totally unbiased and impartial question. Do you want Guiliani or Clinton to win?). And their rationale for their behaviour? They’re only telling us what we want to hear.

Everyone’s just telling us what we want to hear, or at least what the polls say we want to hear. Promising everything – everything that is, except the truth: We have lost our identity as a nation and as individuals of that nation. The Republicans have told us that if we question their policies we are un-American. The Democrats have legitimized illegal immigration to the point that the rights of Americans, which were once inalienable, are now very much, well, alienable. To be American has lost its meaning and uniting quality. We have been splintered into so many groups and subgroups that we have all become hyphened Americans. Are there any just plain ol’ Americans left? Perhaps even worse, on the national stage, we must now defend the honor of our name and our actions through force or out and out bribery. When in history did unquestionable honor ever truly need to be defended?

A long, long time ago, before gallup polls and campaign finance reform and PACS, we were a country of people who all wanted one thing: Freedom to determine our own lives. A country by the people and for the people. Back then, Patriots weren’t missiles that killed innocent people in foreign lands; they were Americans who believed in Freedom and were willing to fight and die for innocent people in this land.

I know, I know. It’s a quaint idea. Quirky even. Some might call it down right loony or even… crazy! And when you finish laughing, I’ll tell you the secret to Dr. Paul’s success.

But, let’s start with what Dr. Paul doesn’t have.

Clearly he doesn’t have Romney’s Donny and Marie good looks (are they related?), Giuliani’s unwavering dedication to his personal motto (“I am the 9/11 man! Wanna see my tattoo?”) or Huckabee’s perfect understanding of God’s will (I believe in a God who loves me, and who wants me to torture people). Congressman Paul certainly doesn’t promote the single minded platform of the Democratic Candidates (“Throw the bums out! No, not us… the other bums!”) – he’s lacking Edward’s sincere interest in the hair styling arts, Obama’s celebrity friends network, Hillary’s heartwarming laugh or any of their willingness to shower you with money that they, and we, don’t have.

So, what is Dr. Paul’s secret? What is he doing? Simply this: He’s reminding us what it means to be American. Sure, he’s talking about Liberty, about the Constitution, about the Rights of Citizens, but what he’s really saying is, “Look here – this is what we came from; this is what we must return to. We were united once, not as sub-classed victims of our leaders’ whims, but as equal individuals. We can be united again. We were a sovereign nation once; we can be again. We once lead the world, not through force, but through integrity and ingenuity. We can do this again.” He has reminded us of what the government has clearly demonstrated through its handling of the Hurricane Katrina aftermath: In the final analysis, we as individuals are responsible for our own lives. The safety of our families and the integrity of our communities lies, not within the realm of the government, but with each of us. It’s such a simple message, but one so many know to be true. A message that has been waiting for someone brave enough to say it out loud.

Is it quixotic? Maybe. Is it crazy? In today’s climate, almost certainly. But more importantly, is it possible? I honestly don’t know, but I can tell you this: there are at least 5,000,000 George Washingtons out there who want to find out.

I hope this has provided you with some insight, although I think it more likely that your consultants will tell you something you like better. Something you want to hear. And that’s the name of the game, really, isn’t it?






Reminiscences – Debate 101

August 14, 2007


Sometimes I’ll buy a cup of coffee, and I know I should wait to drink it because it’s hot. There’s steam wafting from the cup, the container says, “Warning! Contents are hot!”. Yet despite the evidence, I convince myself its drinkable, take a sip and inevitably scald my mouth. That’s what the political process in Iowa has been like for me. I know the media is misrepresenting reality; I know that politicians buy votes; I know the voting process can be manipulated. But knowing something doesn’t always prepare us for the experience.

On the morning of August 5th, my first thought as I went out to my car at 5:30 am was, “Holy Smokes, that’s some kind of thunderstorm!” I didn’t give it much thought because I was on my way to the debate. The Debate! It was my first real political event, and I was excited to see how things really work.

I arrived at Drake University along with the rain. My first impression as I walked up to the “free speech zone” was of the contrast between Dr. Paul’s supporters and Mr. Mitt’s fan club. Dr. Paul’s supporters were spread all along the block holding signs, whooping and hollering – laughing at the rain as if to say, “C’mon give me all you got!” Mitt’s kids were huddled together, looking miserable. They were all college age and the guys were wearing frat boy uniforms and the girls were in photogenic short shorts. I wondered if they all got the same memo entitled, “How to dress for debate success! Go team!”

And then I saw the big red things on their hands. What the heck? No…. are those… mitts? I wonder how much they paid a consultant to come up with that one. “Ok. Let’s go through this one more time. Mitt… Mitts. Get it?”

After a while the chanting started, and I couldn’t help grinning a bit self-righteously at the differences between the two groups.

“We’re not just the internet.”

“Say yes to Dr. No!”

“Who would Washington vote for?” “Ron Paul”

“Who would Jesus vote for?” “Ron Paul!”

“I love you, man!”


“Let’s go Mitt!”

“Gimme and ‘M’. Gimme a ‘I’. Gimme a ‘T’. Gimme another ‘T’. What does it spell!” <confused pause as they look at each other> “uh, Mitt?”

At one point, to counter the enthusiastic calls of the Ron Paul supporters, the Mitt-Mitt’s got the bright idea to start chanting, “Who’s Ron Paul!” It took them a while to realize this wasn’t a good idea.

I kind of felt sorry for them; they were a little gaggle of soggy Biff’s and Bitsy’s surrounded by a defiant and outrageously cheerful crowd of fools for Liberty. It must have been confusing to them. Not to mention that due to the downpour, their cardboard signs kept tearing and within a few minutes, they had a mountain of Romney trash floating in a giant puddle at their feet.

For some reason this really irked me. And when the puddle, which had become a stream, washed them across my feet, I leaned down and gently placed them on high ground. They looked at me and said they were sorry, and I said, “You know, you really ought to have more respect for your candidate.”

I realized at that moment that there is a fundamental difference about our campaign. We don’t view this as a team sport. We don’t want our team to win win win! Nor do we want our candidate to win so we can prove that we’re winners. Our stakes are much higher and more personal. Each person who came that day had a story to tell. One learned about Dr. Paul while researching the corrupt company he was working for. Another had decided to stop paying income taxes because they were unconstitutional. Another was researching Y2K and was appalled at what she discovered. Yet another was losing his property to imminent domain. 50 different roads leading to the same place. I wondered what the media would make of that?

As it turns out, the media was about to show me.

After the debate started, some photographers came out to take pictures. As soon as Team Mitt! saw them, they grabbed a banner and ran forward to pose. The photographers zoomed in on them and took several pictures of the slick legged girls. I was amazed at the way the photographers angled their shots to exclude the rest of us from the photos. When one of Dr. Paul’s supporters rushed over to be in the picture, the photographer stopped shooting, chastised him for posing, and tried to work around this bothersome interloper who refused to move. I watched photographer after photographer come over and do the exact same thing that morning, and each time my heart sank a little more.

After the photographers left, the college kids packed up to leave, and I leaned in to hear what they were talking about. They were comparing notes on where the campaign had sent them and where they were going to be sent next. And that was the moment I felt as though I had scalded my mouth on the hot coffee. Paid photographers were sent to take pictures of paid supporter look-a-likes to run in newspapers, t.v. shows, and websites across the country. Finally, I got how they work. I wonder if they will ever understand how we work.

I went to ABC’s website after the debate and saw the two pictures they posted of supporters. The first was of the Romney babes. In the corner, you can see one unbelievably beautiful and defiant Ron Paul sign.

The second picture is of a lone man holding a Ron Paul sign, standing in the rain. The implication is, of course, that he was the only supporter. Had he, in fact, been the only supporter, I would have been unbelievably proud. I heard his story later that same day. He was from Texas and worked for an airline. He and his 5 year old daughter had flown into Des Moines the night before so they could come to the debate. Not having anywhere to go, they set up a pup tent in the grassy strip in front of the Des Moines airport, where they slept for a few hours in the rain. The next morning they caught a ride to the debate, where they stood in a downpour for hours, showing their enthusiastic support for Ron Paul. Unwavering. Untouched by the insanity of it all. Afterwards they got a ride back to the airport where they waited on standby to go home. They couldn’t have been happier or more grateful to have been there.

Like the photographers who came that day, we all have a choice in how we capture reality. I choose to see you, the people who have Hope for America. I choose to work for the return of the land of the Free and the Brave. This is my reality, and I won’t stop until we all have it. In America. And in the world.

So, to my fellow patriots who stood in the rain and cheered for Freedom that amazing Sunday morning, I say “Thank you. You inspire me more than you can ever know. Now let’s get a move on!”

National vs. Grassroots… The good, the bad, and…

August 1, 2007

On Sunday night, some of the members of the Des Moines and Ames meetups met with the national campaign HQ members to talk about the Straw poll. I must tell you that I went in there with a bit of an attitude, because I am one of those who has been questioning the chasm that I feel developing between the grassroots campaign and the national campaign. More than once, I’ve asked myself, “What are they doing?” and “Who are these people?”. To be fair, I also ask myself, “What am I doing?” and “Who the heck am I?” Equal time, you know.

The difference between national and grassroots is evident even to the most casual observer. As I looked around the room, I had to smile at the contrast. The meetup folk were slouching on the floor in casually reclined poses; most of us, if we cut our hair, look like we use a bowl for a template. We write with pencils and bics and snort when we laugh. The national team, on the other hand, wear clothes that are so nice they have their own birth certificates. They wear their sunglasses on top of their heads, have really nice haircuts, and as they sit leaning gracefully against the wall, they toy with cool electronic gizmos that the rest of us stare at in fascination. They use words like “touches” and “charm offensive”. We use words like “borg” and “duct tape”.

The meeting was started with a report on what the Campaign has accomplished in terms of reaching out to voters. National has started a campaign to connect with special segments of the Iowan population, and between this campaign, and the write and call Iowan programs, they expect to reach (or “touch”) over 200,000 potential voters by the end of this week.

One of the national team said, “We want to touch as many people as we can.” and another said, “Isn’t it better to touch someone several times?” I tried not to laugh, but I couldn’t help thinking, “Doesn’t it depend on where you touch them?” <snort>

The meeting continued at a good clip, and we covered the different areas of the Straw Poll that needed volunteer support. It was a pretty good meeting, but I still somehow was bothered by the chasm I felt between us.

So at an inopportune moment, which is the only time I seem capable of speaking out in a group, I told them that I was sensing a chasm between national and grass roots. I said that if we weren’t careful, we would end up with two campaigns. Two campaigns that didn’t like each other. Cats and Dogs, Hatfield and McCoys, Eileen and Sandy Burger (Eileen and Sandy were my next door neighbors when I was growing up and were always fighting over their “real live Lucy” doll who refused to eat spinach or raise taxes.) You get the picture.

I told them that the supporters for Ron Paul want to help. I said, “For example, if you’re doing a radio campaign in Iowa, why not make the ad available, and I know the supporters will run with it and play it all over Iowa! There’s so much we can do together. Can’t you just talk to us? We’re not from the government, we really are here to help!” Realizing that I was beginning to sound like a democrat <teasing!>, I trailed off with, “It’s just that we’re a little frustrated right now…”

It was about then that I noticed that one of the national guys was turning an odd shade of red. Suddenly, he jumped up and with clenched fists exclaimed, “You think you’re frustrated?! You have no idea!” It took me a while to understand what he was talking about, but when the light finally dawned, I realized there was another side to this whole thing that I hadn’t even been aware of.

Here’s the gist of it. The FEC (Federal Election Commission) has a code of rules and regulations that apparently makes the IRS codebook look like nursery rhymes. And, because other groups are not, shall we say, encouraging our campaign it is especially important that we follow the code to perfection. The code mostly deals with money – how it is received by the campaign, how it is used, etc. The tricky part for grassroots campaigns is that our activities must clearly be separate (in general) from the National campaign or someone is gonna end up in a little prison cell with a roommate named Bubba.

So, they can’t give us a radio ad, because then it isn’t an independent action, but a coordinated communication, which requires filing reams of reports, may exceed the allowed donation limit, etc. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

What they explained to us is this: They hate it, but they have to live by it. They want, they need for us to do what we’re doing and do more of it. They were as encouraging as they could be, but are very skittish about doing anything that can be misconstrued as incorrect. They don’t want to hear about the projects that we’re working on, and they can’t consult with us on the best way to do them. They went into some more detail, but you can see the general scheme of things, right?

When they were done talking about the restrictions on them, I blurted out, “Wow, I feel so free!”. And I do. Do you see what this means? It means we don’t have to wait on the national organization to make decisions. We don’t have to feel stymied because we don’t know what they want. The truth is this: they can’t tell us! It’s not that they don’t want to, it’s just that they aren’t allowed to.   So, you and I can promote Dr. Paul with our best efforts. We can coordinate with each other and help each other as we have been doing. And we can do more of it. While we cannot and indeed must not depend on national, we can support them as best we can so that they can work fully within the limitations that exist, because the national campaign is also vital for success. But, we must move forward within the grassroots movement. The truth is that Dr. Paul’s message, our message, is simple and clear enough that once people hear it, it speaks to them. That’s the only direction we really need. All we have to do is let people know about him.

In the end, there are two campaigns – national and grassroots. But now, instead of thinking of us as two little kids fighting over our “Constitution Ron” doll, I see us more as Captain Navarre and Isabeau from Ladyhawke – two lovers under the spell of an evil wizard, unable to “touch” each other, but soon to be set free and return justice to the land. The only part I can’t decide is who’s the hawk and who’s the wolf.

Ames is hip deep in Ron Paul!

July 31, 2007

I’m sorry I’ve taken so long to write about this weekend. Given the adventure that it was, one would think I couldn’t wait to get to the computer. In fact, that’s true, but other events got in my way, which I’ll save for another post…

Saturday dawned early, and Jana and I were at the park by 7:30, eagerly waiting for the first volunteers to show up. I had heard from some people, but I know that Ron Paul supporters are not into blabbing their plans at the request of a stranger, so I really had no idea how many would come.

The first to arrive were a mother and son who had driven all the way from… North Carolina. Yep. North Carolina. They had driven 20 hours to distribute the dvd’s that Jeff Lins and his team of true-hearted editors had made. They said they had been stopping at truck stops and giving Ron Paul flyers to people. She even brought a whole stack of Ron Paul Straw Poll flyers that she had printed at my request. And here’s the amazing part. They could only stay for one day, because she had to work on Monday. This is the kind of dedication I am witnessing again and again from Ron Paul supporters.

Shortly after, a young man arrived from St. Louis. He was young and full of energy, and he worked hard all weekend. Whenever I thought to invite him to rest, he was up and ready for another area to cover. People arrived throughout the morning and afternoon to work. And I mean work.
All in all we had folks from North Carolina, Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, South Dakota, a beautiful family from Tennessee. Iowans, too, came from all over the state to distribute dvd’s, and many of them took dvd’s with them to distribute in their towns. They were all so motivated and steady – not a single complaint, not a single demand. They just wanted to help. They were inspiring.

So how did we do? In one and a half days, with a group of about 50 people, we distributed 10,000 dvd’s to the people of Ames and surrounding towns. How wonderful is that?

I wish you could have been there on Saturday afternoon to share in the adventure with everyone. We are a varied and delightful crew of characters. When we parted at the end of the day, I felt as though my family was dispersing; I didn’t want to say goodbye. And then something wonderful happened. When I turned to wish safe travels to a man who had traveled many hours to come to Ames, he looked at me and quietly said, “I’ll see you at the inauguration.” And that was how we said goodbye to each other.

Thank you to all of you who helped make the dvd, all of you who came, all of you who e-mailed your support, and all of you who are working to change the course of this country.

If I don’t see you before then, I’ll see you at the inauguration.

Calling all Students for Ron Paul

July 27, 2007

Amazing news….

Yesterday I spoke with a lawyer, Bill, in California who is offering $5000 in tickets to support students who want to vote for Ron Paul.  Dang!  He’s going to be here for the Straw Poll and will be in charge of getting the tickets to the students.

Can you help?  If you are a Iowan student or can get the word out to college and university students, you would be doing the campaign a great service.  Please tell them to go to to register.  We will contact them after they register, so please make sure to enter phone info.

If we get more students than the $5000 will cover, we’ll ask for donations.  I hope that happens soon!

“A hero is a man who does what he can.” – Romain Rolland

July 26, 2007

I thought yesterday was one of those banner days that life sometimes hands you – like a golden pear in late summer or a rainbow during a cool summer rain. Well, today was like standing in line for ice cream at the little small town stand everyone goes to on Friday nights and getting your favorite double dip. Or listening to the kids play kickball as the day dims into a lightening bug festooned evening.

Basically it was a pretty excellent day.

I got a call yesterday from a man named Bill who lives in South Dakota and is coming to help with the Great Iowa DVD Drop this weekend. We chatted for a bit and then he said in this really humble voice, “Do you want to hear about my project?” You know I did – I love stories. It seems that Bill owns a business and has about 250 clients (mostly farmers) in Iowa, and he had decided to send them all a letter and some literature about Dr. Paul.

I really admire people who are willing to speak their truth in a humble and unpretentious way. He wasn’t shouting it or pushing it in anyones face, but just offering it, almost as a service, to his clients. I think that takes more than a little bravery and a lot of integrity. When someone is like that, you just want to support them however you can. So, I asked him if he would like some dvd’s to send with the letter. He thought that was great, but he wanted to send the letters the next day. So, we agreed to meet halfway at the Iowa/Nebraska border and make a trade.

So at 6:30 this morning I hit the road and drove across Iowa (and it is truly a beautiful state), and met Bill, today’s hero. He gave me a copy of his letter – here are a couple of excerpts:

“The reason I decided to mail this to you is of a political nature, and I apologize if this mailing offends you in any way. I promise you will never receive any further political mailings from me…

… description of Dr. Paul and Ames …

…And if you are like me, you have serious reservations about the direction our country is heading. Ron Paul pledges to change that direction. With Ron Paul as President, if it’s not constitutional, it’s simply not going to happen…”

You see how humble this guy is? You gotta love it. Before we parted, he gave me a few Ron Paul yard signs that he made (OUR NEXT PRESIDENT IS… RON PAUL… GO AHEAD, GOOGLE HIM!), and shoved some money in my hand to help pay for gas.

All I have to say to you folks is, “Where have you been all my life?” I am grateful to Dr. Paul for many things, but meeting so many good hearted patriots is by far the greatest gift I have received since I first heard of him…

There’s more to today – a phone call from the West Coast with awesome news, but I’ll have to wait a bit to tell you…

Mama, Make it Stop!

July 26, 2007

I’m sitting here grinning like a complete idiot. You folks are amazing!

But, please stop printing now! <big grin> Unless you wanna do trifolds, which we also need! has them at the bottom of the page…

I am so happy to tell you that we’re setting up a Ron Paul office in downtown Des Moines in the next few days. Which is a good thing, because I’m going to need somewhere to put those 22,000 flyers that are arriving in the next few days! Not for long though –  those bad boys gotta hit the street and do their thing…

Man oh man. Life is good.

Ron Paul Supporters Freak me OUT!

July 26, 2007

As you may know, I sent out a plea for help creating flyers yesterday. We need 20,000 to hand out before the straw poll on August 11th. Well, within 24 hours, I have 18,000 flyers. Is that amazing or what?! I cannot believe the swiftness with which people responded. I am simply amazed.

Thank you to all of you who ordered copies, who printed copies on your printers, who did everything within your power to help. We will make sure that all of the flyers are used. We now have the potential to introduce 18,000 Iowans to Dr. Paul because of your action. That’s pretty darned amazing. Thank you.

Here’s something else that’s amazing. We are now going to participate in the Iowa State Fair Parade on August 8th. So all of you volunteers who are coming for the week before the poll have a special duty on the 8th – to be a part of Iowa’s number one parade. Don’t forget Ron Paul t-shirts and signs!

Des Moines Meetup Notes

July 24, 2007

Last night I attended the first Des Moines meetup.   Joe, the Iowa National lead was there and gave us an update. 

He updated us on the progress of the National campaign.  He said they were gratified by the work done by volunteers, and it was time for the campaign to step up its activities in Iowa.  He went into some detail, but I’m not comfortable putting it here for all eyes to see (all 12 of them!).  You can call me if you want more info.

 Joe did stress the importance of RSVP’ing if you’re coming – whether you’re an Iowan or an OOSer.  You can do that here.  Also, we’ve been getting a great response for the “Adopt and Iowan” program, but we need even more, so if you can help us buy tickets for Iowans to vote, it will make a big difference.  Go to the bottom right hand corner of this page to adopt an Iowan.  Currently they have rasied about $5600, or 160 tickets.  We need more!

 He also mentioned that there are over 300 volunteers calling Iowans.  Please call more – this is crucial.  I’ve spent a few days on the streets so far, and I can tell you that for the most part they are incredibly open to hearing about new candidates. 

Jana, one of the Ames coordinators had produced a map with all of the County fairs in progress across the State, and got volunteers to cover them.   We also discussed strategy for the Great Iowa DVD drop that’s taking place for the next 2 weekends.

We are expecting anywhere from 200 – 300 Out of State Volunteers to show up the week of the Straw Poll.  One of the concerns at the meeting was flyers.  We don’t have enough, so I’ve put out a call on the website for help making flyers.  If you have a printer, you can help.  Please go here for info.

 The evening was finished by a rousing speech by Ernie “Fireball” Hancock. 

Fireball crash lands in Des Moines, Iowa

July 24, 2007

I got a call yesterday from a guy who introduced himself as Ernie from Phoenix.  He said he had just arrived in Des Moines and was looking for people who wanted to do more than just talk.  He was all about Revolution.

 Sounded good to me, so I agreed to go to Ernie’s hotel and see what he had to say.   Turns out this Ernie is the Ernie who is a member of the Phoenix Revolution and the host of, a pretty cool website that I visit often.  Well, dang.  Ernie filled me in on his latest adventures, which were great to hear.

 He said that he had just come from South Carolina where Ron Paul had given a speech.  He told me about a group of youngsters (ages 11 – 18) who had wanted to do something, but hadn’t been encouraged by the adults around him.  So Ernie bought supplies and over the course of 2 or 3 days, they made 150 signs.    Then they went out and hung them on the fence next to the interstate.  One sign every 100 or 200 yards.  For miles.  Ernie showed me the youtube video he’s working on – trust me, it is an inspiring sight!   Of course, the highway guys came and took them down, but not until thousands of morning commuters got an eyeful of Ron Paul signage!

The kids were not to be deterred and made 70 more and put them out too!  Way to go!

Ernie’s mission is to motivate folks to get involved.  His prime way of doing this is through signage.   So, after we watched the video, we started making Ron Paul Revolution templates.  One of the locals, Jeremy, offered his shop as a sign making factory, and so we’ll get started this week.

Thanks, Ernie.  It was a pleasure to meet you.